Learning Difficulties Australia


Professional Learning

Weekly Wednesday Webinars

Learning Difficulties Australia would like to offer a free webinar series to engage with our membership and the wider educational community in Australia. As the name suggests, each Wednesday we will offer a webinar at 6pm. This is intended to support members’ professional development during the current pandemic and into the future.

Our presenters will be a mix of local and international educators who will present on a range of topics aligned to the aims of LDA.

WWW #10 Alison Clarke

English Spelling has Five Kinds of Logic

Alison Clarke has been a Speech Pathologist since 1988, and also holds a Masters in Applied Linguistics and an ESL teaching certificate. She has worked for the Victorian Education Department, Yooralla, SCOPE, a University in Mexico, a hospital in London, the Royal Children’s Hospital and Lewis and Lewis. She started her private practice in 2000 in Footscray, moved it to Clifton Hill in 2012, and then to North Fitzroy in 2018.

Alison set up the Spelfabet website in 2012, because she was keen to encourage early literacy teaching and intervention that reflects scientific reading research. She was 2015-16 Vice President of Learning Difficulties Australia (LDA), and has also worked as an administrator, and been a City Councillor and Mayor. She received LDA’s 2018 Mona Tobias Award. Alison works more than full-time and still can’t get everything done.

Synopsis: Alison will unpack the underlying logic of our writing system, as this knowledge is crucial to being able to provide explicit, systematic spelling instruction. The 'logic' Alison will detail is as follows:

  • One sound can be written with one letter.
  • One sound can be written with two, three or four letters e.g. sh, ou, dge, augh.
  • Most sounds are written more than one way e.g. out, cow, drought.
  • Some spellings represent more than one sound e.g. out, you, touch, cough, soul.
  • Meaningful parts used to build longer words often have special spellings e.g. er, ed, ly, al, est, ous, chron.


When: August 5, 2020 06:00 PM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney.

To access WWW # 10register herehttps://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0ud-ysrj4qEtd504pGxVu-Ay6oD8FyP5g9

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Upcoming WWW Guests


WWW #11 Ray Boyd: Putting in place whole of school structures from a leadership perspective in terms of highly effective teaching.

When: Aug 12, 
2020 06:00 PM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrcqsqD8rE9ARsG6oxZvzAH9CPaPKb7_A


WWW #12 Tessa Daffern: Assessment-informed practices in teaching spelling

Dr Tessa Daffern has contributed to education in various capacities for over 20 years: as a classroom teacher in schools, teaching and learning specialist, literacy coordinator, academic and education consultant. Tessa is a Director and Education Consultant at Literacy Education Solutions, and she is appointed as a Senior Honorary Fellow at the University of Wollongong. Tessa has previously held academic positions at the University of Wollongong, University of Canberra and Charles Sturt University. Her areas of research have focussed on spelling and writing. Tessa enjoys working with schools and various education departments across Australia, helping to build teacher capacity for effective language and literacy teaching.

Synopsis: Spelling error analysis is a method of assessment that can be of benefit for screening, progress monitoring, and diagnostic purposes. A systematic analysis of spelling errors can provide a wealth of information about a student’s phonological, orthographic and morphological applications in the context of spelling. This session provides an overview of a series of dictation assessments that are informed by Triple Word Form Theory. The assessments utilise a spelling error analysis technique and can be used to inform teaching priorities. Practical insights into how these assessments have been used to help teachers implement explicit and systematic instruction in spelling will be shared.

When: Aug 19, 2020 06:00 PM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

Register in advance for this meeting

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Previous Weekly Wednesday Webinar Recordings

Recording of previously held webinars can be found on our LDA YouTube channel.

WWW #1 Lyn Stone: Metalanguage

WWW #2 David Morkunas: Spaced Practice & Interleaving

WWW #3 Dr Kate Jacobs: School-based reasonable adjustments & the VCAA Special Examinations Arrangements

WWW #4 Dr Kate de Bruin: Using universal design principles to support learning, participation and progress for every student

WWW #5 Steven Capp: Building teacher efficacy towards evidence informed practice

WWW #6 Dr Sally Kooi-Robinson: EAL/D or LD? Preparing classroom teachers to teach English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D) students

WWW #7 Emily Hanford: Beyond the Phonics Fights: An American Reporter's Story

WWW #8 Sarah Asome: Response to Intervention (RtI) – Getting it right for all, right from the start!

WWW #9 Michael Roberts: How the Science of Learning Can Transform a School – Do’s and Don’t’s


Dr Jan Hasbrouck Tour POSTPONED

Unfortunately, due to the recent Australian Government travel restrictions imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19, we have had to postpone the Jan Hasbrouck Australian tour. We have already discussed alternative dates with Jan, but we will obviously wait until this situation is at a point that enables us to make decisions before announcing these. Anyone who has purchased a ticket will be refunded in full.

Other Professional Learning 

This section provides a listing of non-LDA  professional learning opportunities of relevance to the area of learning difficulties. All external events are publicised at LDA's discretion, but LDA accepts no responsibility for their value or the evidence base of what may be promoted.

Online Learning

A Free Online CourseSupporting Children with Difficulties in Reading and Writing Click here for details.

A new online course in teaching systematic synthetic phonics & its integration with wider reading, spelling and writing. Click here for details.

SPELD PD events

See individual state SPELD websites for information regarding relevant PD in the area of learning difficulties in each state. For State SPELD contact details go to http://auspeld.org.au/state-associations

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Past Professional Learning

The Center for Effective Reading Instruction and the International Dyslexia Association have developed a self-paced online course on reading instruction, with nine pre and post tested modules to teach the critical skills for proficient reading, writing and assessment, and best practices that support students’ acquisition of these skills. This free online course, and option to attain certification, is offered on the Reading Rockets 101 website


Professor Maggie Snowling - Dyslexia, Language and Learning to Read

Professor Maggie Snowling, President of St John's College Oxford and Professor of Psychology at the University of Oxford, visited Australia and spoke at the Australian National University on ‘Dyslexia, Language and Learning to Read’ on 25th July, 2017, to a sold out crowd. LDA is very grateful to Professor Snowling, and the ANU, for granting permission to provide an audio of this event for LDA.

Past Professional Learning Events 2019


Brisbane 20-21 September 2019.

The keynote speakers were Dr Jennifer Buckingham and Mr Bruce Sullivan. Topics presented involved technology, reading, writing, spelling, mathematics, cognition, assessment and working in a team approach. 

August 2019 – Dr David Kilpatrick National Tour

Recent Advances in Understanding Word-Level Reading Problems: Assessment and Highly Effective Intervention
David presented full-day sessions in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Cairns and Sydney, focusing on how children learn to read words and why some struggle. Understanding word level reading development and its problems will guide both assessment and intervention. Once we understand how reading works and why some children struggle, the reasons why some commonly used intervention approaches provide limited benefits while others can yield very large gains for such students becomes clear, and then the focus is on establishing the best instructional and intervention practices.

LDA members can access the David Kilpatrick session notes under Resources by logging into the Members Only Section of the website.

Past Conferences, Seminars & Workshops

Past Professional Learning Events, 2019

Past Professional Learning Events, 2018

Past Professional Learning Events, 2017

Past Professional Learning Events. 2016

Past Professional Learning Events. 2015

Past Professional Learning Events, 2014

Past Professional Learning Events, 2013

Victorian Workshops 2012

Sir Jim Rose visit 2009

Past Conferences 1996-2008

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